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Undersea Walking

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UNDER THE SEA A s a contraption resembling a large upside down fish bowl was lowered over my head, I wondered what on earth had possessed me to want to be dumped under the sea. Fair enough, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but then, as I stared down into the deep expanse of water, I began to doubt my decision. I was at "Aquaventure," in Belle Mare, situated on the east coast of Mauritius, where I was about to embark on an "undersea walk," - a venture which would let me experience what it was like to walk along the sea bed and view the Mauritian wildlife. The hut itself was located on an idyllic, sprawling and beautiful white beach belonging to the nearby Coco beach hotel. As is the norm for August in Mauritius, the weather was sunny and warm, without being exceedingly hot. At 2000 rupees per head, (or around �30 in English money) the trip was pricey, but apparently "worth it." We arrived at the boat at 9am, and were taken out to a suitable location for the undersea walk, which was only about half a mile from the coast. The boat itself was surprisingly small, and seemingly lacking in equipment. However, after mooring up at a small pontoon, I realized that the breathing apparatus etc was in fact kept there. ...read more.


Note also that it is not a requirement for participants to be able to swim, as two of the members of our party couldn't, yet were still able to share the experience. An undersea walk, I found, is suitable for virtually everyone, young and old, able bodied and disabled. This even applies to people who wear glasses/contact lenses. My mother is a perfect example i.e. she is a non swimmer, a contact lens wearer and constantly worries about getting her hair wet, yet still found the experience incredible. However, children are required to be seven years old, due to the size and weight of the helmets. Reaching the bottom of the ladder, I felt strangely light on my feet, despite the metal belt around my waist. Walking and turning seemed to take twice as long as normal; it was as if everything was in "slow motion." My previous fears of falling over were gone - it took me about ten seconds just to put one foot in front of another! The clearness of the sea was astonishing, it was easy to see all around the area and witness the amazing bright colouring of the coral and the magnificent marine life. There were six other "undersea walkers" around me, as you have to go down in fives, along with two guides who stay with you in case you encounter any problems. ...read more.


I was soon joined by the rest of the group, who had all found it an extremely enjoyable and breath taking experience. It was certainly a lot different to anything I had ever experienced before. Aspiring divers should be aware that an undersea walk may be a good precursor to their first dive. Although they would not experience the same breathing equipment as used in diving, the encounter would help in acquiring a general feel for the sensation of being underwater, as well as giving them an idea of how to control the pressure felt in their ears. For those uncertain about whether an expensive three day diving course is for them, this is the perfect opportunity to sample life underwater. Once back on dry land, we were able to view the photos and videos the guides had taken of us. If you are able to do so, I thoroughly recommend buying these as souvenirs to take home with you, as for just �15 you get a CD with all of them included. And let's face it - who's going to believe you've been walking around on the sea bed in your bikini for half an hour without the evidence to prove it? "Aquaventure Under Sea Walk" (www.aquaventure-mu.com) can be found at the "Coco Beach Hotel" in "Belle Mare," Mauritius. It is open throughout the year and costs �30 per person. See website for further information. ...read more.

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